ASU basketball alumnus James Harden is fitting right in with the Houston Rockets. Harden led all scorers with 32 points-per-game entering Wednesday night’s game against the Denver Nuggets.
Despite the Rockets 2-2 record to start the season, Harden has flourished in Houston. In his season debut, the shooting guard dropped 37 points and dished 12 assists in route to his team’s 105-96 victory over the Detroit Pistons.
Two days later, he continued to look like the new franchise player when he scored 45 points. His 82 points in the first two games made NBA history of most points by a non-rookie playing with a new team.
Hard to believe the third year player took a step backward in Wednesday’s loss after scoring 15 points and adding six steals. Harden is going to have to adjust to a full season of playing 35 plus minutes a night.
After four games this season, Harden is looking as if he was well worth the five year, $80 million investment. No more sixth man of the year discussion for the 6-foot-5 guard because he is burning in the Texas spotlight.
Last season, the ASU alumn averaged just under 17 points per game for Oklahoma City. His role is different this year. He will continue to be one of the most feared players in the Western Conference and opponents will only see more of him on the court this season.
Houston made off-season adjustments to be a younger and more well rounded team. They are currently second in the league in rebounding and 13th in scoring defense. Besides 30-year-old shooting guard Carlos Delfino, the oldest player is center Omer Asik and point guard Toney Douglas at 26.
Inexperience could hinder the Rockets playoff chances down the road, but that wont matter as long as Harden keeps dropping buckets and bringing in fans. This is the most hype Houston basketball has seen since the Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady years.
Harden more than likely wont be in contention for an NBA championship this season but Houston might as well give him a trophy for the way he turned around the Rockets franchise and fan base overnight.
Harden and company will play Memphis, Detroit and Miami this Veterans Day weekend.